Operation Pirkanmaa’s New Programme Release Engages Dialogue Both in Pirkanmaa and in Europe

Operation Pirkanmaa, the legacy project of the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) bid, has supported more than one hundred projects during the course of 2022, including a series of Cultural Happenings to take place across the Tampere Region (a.k.a. Pirkanmaa) during the autumn. The second programme release based on the ECoC bid mainly focuses on the 2023–2024 period, drawing attention both to local players and European interactions.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is still ongoing. Players in the creative industries can work both for freedom of speech and against the war by supporting local and international offshoots in pursuit of change.

The Operation Pirkanmaa project supports the Tampere International Freedom of Speech Event to be organised for the first time in 2023. Planned to take place biennially from then on, the event designed by the Finnish Cultural Foundation’s Pirkanmaa Regional Fund and Matti Posio, Editor-in-Chief at Lännen Media, is more timely than ever, as breaches of international law, trampling on human rights, restrictions on freedom of speech and hybrid operations are putting fundamental European values through a testing time. Besides international and visible advocates of freedom of speech, the event will also welcome politicians, experts, and representatives of the media. Precise dates for the Freedom of Speech Event will be confirmed during the autumn of 2022.

52 windows to Europe and a dancing Interrail trip

Themes highlighting European stories and human rights – and much more – will be part of the offering in a series of screenings designed by the Pirkanmaa Film Centre and Tampere Film Festival, running through 2023. The 52 Windows to Europe film series comprises European films that would not otherwise feature on cinema programmes, to be screened weekly in Tampere as well as elsewhere in the region. Some of the screenings may also involve director presentations or other auxiliary events.

Dance Theatre MD, in turn, is involved in the Rail2Dance project funded by the Creative Europe programme, studying the city and its public spaces as settings for dance performances. Operation Pirkanmaa will support the parts of the project to take place in Tampere. At the core of the project is a 40-day rail tour across Europe to be made by five dance artists. The ensemble will launch its tour in the spring of 2023 from Tampere, travelling via Vaasa, Umeå, Malmö, Nuremberg, Chemnitz and Maribor to Ljubljana – and performing in various public spaces in the in-residence cities on its itinerary.

Regional literary adventures for everyone

The Finnish Institute for Children’s Literature will turn its eyes to Tartu, Tampere’s Estonian twin town, which will celebrate its year as one of the European Capitals of Culture in 2024. In the Word Bridges project, illustrators and authors from both Pirkanmaa and Tartu County will organise workshops on children’s literature – also collaborating with children – in 2023 and exhibitions and seminars in 2024.

In 2023, a ten-night literary club entitled Gatherings of Living and Dead Authors, organised by the Pirkkalaiskirjailijat association of Pirkanmaa-based authors, will highlight the region’s impressive literary history while also giving voice to contemporary authors. The series of events will be launched as part of the Tampere Book Festival on 4 December 2022, at an event entitled A Changing Tampere through the Eyes of Authors.

The Reading Motivation through Gaming project carried out by the Sastamala-based Finnish Book Institute and the Museum of Finnish Book Pukstaavi is developing a digital escape room game with a literary theme. The game draws its content from Pirkanmaa-based authors and illustrators, aiming to motivate children and young people to read for pleasure through adventure. Once completed, the game will be accessible nationwide and available to everyone free of charge.

Participatory community art in the autumn

Autumn 2022 will also see Puppet Theatre Nirunaru’s Plastic Rapids project take shape to engage children and young people in building aquatic organisms from recycled materials, raising environmental awareness. During this year, the project will be piloted in the after-school activities of the hospital school at Tampere University Hospital.

Theatre Telakka’s audience engagement project entitled KIRSI – Woman with Disabilities is working with theatre-makers with disabilities to develop an operating model for promoting equitable interactions in the field of the performing arts. As part of the project, theatre groups active in Akaa, Hämeenkyrö and Lempäälä are designing a production about the lives of people with disabilities for 2024.

In December, the Hiedanranta Cultural Hub will host a participatory Tampere Guerrilla Lighting event, while further events realised by means of guerrilla lighting are also planned for other parts of the region in 2023.

The Koko kylän piha – Our Garden concept led by Cultural Caretaker Mika Pettissalo will receive support throughout the autumn. Starting from the beginning of 2023, this community art garden will be granted rent subsidy from the budget of the City of Tampere Education and Culture Committee as long as its activities can continue on the site of an old epidemic hospital in the city’s Kaakinmaa district.

Operation Pirkanmaa is also promoting equity by supporting simultaneous sign-language interpreting of public events at Tampere City Library and audio descriptions for visually impaired people at Culture House Laikku and Children’s Cultural Centre Rulla.

Operation Pirkanmaa Project 2022–2024 

Operation Pirkanmaa is a development project for culture and the creative industries, drawing on the work carried out during the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) application process and piloting new activities. 

Further information

Project Manager

Ilona Kyykoski


040 706 5431


Satu Keltanen


041 730 5771


Satu Keltanen


Jiri Halttunen